Lady Lions get stuck in the muddle
SAGU comes up short to Langston, 62-46
Hill, Harvatin, Sodich combine for 35 points
LANGSTON, Oklahoma -- Monday night’s women’s college basketball game between Southwestern Assemblies of God University and Langston University was very similar to a novel.
It has been said the key to writing a good novel is to have a beginning, a muddle and an end.
The visitors from Waxahachie had an excellent beginning. But it was that muddle that did them in. It completely determined the ending.
SAGU, 4-6 in all games and 1-4 in the Red River Athletic Conference, scored the game’s first five points and still led with over five minutes left in the first half. In fact, the Purple Pride were tied, 29-29, in the closing seconds of the first half.
Then came the muddle.
Langston, who shares the same mascot with SAGU, cracked the plot wide open by scoring the first 10 points of the second half for a 41-29 lead and never looked back.
The host Lady Lions, who entered the game with a 1-7 record, went on to build an 18-point lead en route to a 62-46 triumph. They are now 2-2 in the RRAC.
“We never bounced back after those first five or six minutes after intermission,” admitted Assistant Coach Kory Henry. “Our defense allowed too many rebounds and shots that Langston refused to miss.”
On the offensive end, SAGU couldn’t penetrate inside the muddle, ah, er, the middle, and made just 22% of their shots after halftime.
Langston made a layup before recess and went on a 17-5 run in the opening 10 minutes to build a 48-34 lead. It swelled to 54-36 with over six minutes remaining.
SAGU reduced the deficit to twelve on two occasions, both on three-point baskets by Taylor Hill (Waxahachie, Tx / Waxhachie HS) and Cordia Harvatin (San Antonio, Tx / Stacey HS).
Those two led SAGU in scoring, pouring in 17 and 10 points respectively. Hill was 7-of-17 from the field, including three-of-six beyond the arc.
The focused freshman was credited with four assists and a game-high four steals.
Harvatin, a sophomore forward, was 4-of-9 overall and 2-of-4 from long distance. She grabbed four rebounds as well.
Jessica Sodich (Arlington, Tx / Ovilla Christian) contributed eight points, four boards and three assists, while Okevia Bratchett (Center, Tx / Tenaha HS) finished with seven points and had two thefts.
Sierra Hankins (Welch, Ok / Welch HS) was the team’s only presence inside, grabbing seven rebounds.
Langston won the game largely on the effort of Victoria Felix and Amber Coleman, a pair of six-footers. Single-digit scorers last season, they are aggressive and assertive this year.
Felix bagged 29-points and ripped down seven boards. The senior connected on 10-of-17 shots, which comprised of four triples. Fifteen of her points came in the second half.
Coleman added 19 points and eight caroms. Both players blocked two shots apiece.
Langston owned the paint, 46-29, including a 13-6 margin in offensive rebounds.
Each team tried 57 shots, with LU making good on 22; SAGU swished 17. From downtown, SAGU was 7-of-21 while Langston was an efficient 5-of-11.
Southwestern forced the home team into 21 turnovers while making 20.
Neither team’s bench supplied much in the way of scoring. Langston reserves made 1-of-9 shots and had 13 boards to SAGU’s 0-for-9 and nine rebounds.
Good beginning for the Purple Pride
Team Purp grabbed a quick 5-0 lead when Bratchett drained a triple and scored again after Hill, who assisted on both buckets, stole the ball from LU guard Whitney Brown.
Langston roared back with a 13-2 run before Sodich fired a trifecta, thanks to another helper from Hill, to draw SAGU to within 13-10 with 10:45 to go in the half.
Southwestern took the lead on shots by Harvatin and Hill, 14-13. Trailing by two, Sodich knotted the score, then gave SAGU their final lead, 19-18 (5:56 left), with a single free throw.
A 10-2 surge put SAGU in arrears, 29-21, before Brittany Griffin (Rockwall, Tx / Rockwall Christian) tossed in two foul shots to spark a late rally.
Harvatin’s elevated play continues, nailing a trey following a Hill pass, then Hill uncorked a 3-ball after a Sodich dime. That score was set up by a steal by Harvatin.
Hankins stroked two from the line to even the score at 29 with 0:20 showing on the clock, capping a 7-0 streak.
As she would do throughout the night, Felix, Langston’s senior forward, owned the lane. Her layup prior to the midway mark gave her Lady Lions a lead they not give up.
#17 LSU-Shreveport comes to town on Thursday
SAGU returns to action on Thursday, December 13, when LSU-Shreveport visits Sheaffer Center for a 5:30pm game.
The Lady Pilots, ranked #17 in the NAIA, are 8-1 overall and 3-0 in the RRAC.
Local students, staff and fans are strongly encouraged to support the team since the campus is mostly vacant for the holidays.
A year ago the Lady Lions suffered a tough, 59-51, homecourt loss to LSUS, and have dropped the past three encounters. The Pilots were 25-9 last season.
The year before saw SAGU sink the River Pilots by a 72-69 count.
The Lady Lions have a pair of road tilts next weekend; Dec. 15 at University of the Southwest (4-8) and Monday, Dec. 17, at Texas Wesleyan University (7-2).
Following the holidays the Lions are back on the court on Saturday, January 5, at home against the University of St. Thomas (4-5).
The Celts (pronounced like Kelts) are in their second year of existence after going 8-22 last winter.
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